Trends: Latina Actress Firsts


Melissa Villasenor (Remezcla)

Melissa Villasenor (Remezcla)

Earlier this week, new additions to the “Saturday Night Live” cast were announced for the upcoming season. Among the three new cast members is comedian Melissa Villasenor. Villasenor’s hiring is significant because she’ll be the first Latina cast-member since “SNL” debuted 41 years ago.

How in the hell did it take Forty. One. Years?!?!?!

Villasenor’s hiring is just the latest achievement for Latinas in the entertainment industry, and she’s not the first to bust down a barrier.

Mexican actress Dolores del Rio worked in Hollywood from the 1920s until the ’40s, and achieved cross-over success with American audiences. She was the first Mexican actress to do so, and she worked with Hollywood luminaries such as Fred Astaire. (Fun fact: In the 1933 film “Flying Down to Rio,” del Rio danced with Astaire in the same film where he first paired with Ginger Rogers.)

Actress Rita Moreno overachieved with the firsts. Not only did she win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1961, but she won the same award at the Tonys in 1975. Moreno went on to be the second person ever to get the EGOT honor (that is, she won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony).

Villasenor’s hiring opens the door for more diversity at “SNL,” but more Latina achievement in entertainment.




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